Tisbury School embarks on building needs study

— Photo courtesy of Tisbury School

On behalf of the Tisbury School community, it is my privilege to welcome back to school our 325 students and their families. Our school is strengthened by the tremendous support from parents and the community, contributing to the school’s success. We are grateful for the time and effort that provides backing for the work we do. Parents and families, in addition to our PTO, School Committee, and School Advisory Council, help form the partnerships that so greatly benefit our students and make a positive difference. While Vineyard schools are fortunate to have strong community support, it is important to never take for granted this commitment. We owe thanks for this.

On September 6, Kindergarten students, and their parents, will embark upon a remarkable journey as they begin school. Eighth-graders will start a year that promises moments of both nostalgia and looking forward. All other students will join them in the growing and learning that happens in our school.

Tisbury School students are fortunate indeed to have such opportunities. In addition to a traditional focus on building and improving students’ academic skills, the Tisbury School also maintains an emphasis on educating the whole child. Accordingly, the arts are a valuable and integral part of the school’s program. Students participate in vocal and instrumental music, art, family and consumer science, industrial arts, health, physical education, and computer technology. Also, students in Kindergarten through eighth grade are enrolled in Spanish.

Approved at last April’s town meeting, a comprehensive building needs study of our school has recently begun. Flansburgh Associates, an architectural firm based in Boston, is conducting this study, which will take place throughout the fall. As part of this process, workshops will be held so that the architect may solicit necessary input from the school community. This important study will help identify our needs and provide direction for the school as we look ahead.

Several new staff members will join our school this year, and we welcome them, confident that they will add to what is already an exceptional group. David Arruda joins us as the K-8 vocal music teacher, Shannon Carbon as the English Language Learners teacher, Arik Goff as the fifth/sixth grade science teacher, and Jim Hickey as the Industrial Technology teacher.

Additionally, Cassandra Nordstrom (grades five to eight) and Elizabeth Mellon (Kindergarten) will work as education support professionals. Our devoted staff shares a commitment to the students, as well as to each other. Collegiality is strong at the Tisbury School, and we are proud of this.

Last year, our school experienced many significant changes. With change often comes challenge, and I am pleased and proud of the way that our staff, students, and parents collectively adjusted, helping make it a positive and successful year. We are fortunate to be part of a supportive and dedicated school community, and we are excited to welcome students and parents back to school, with hopes for another wonderful year.

John Custer, an alumnus of Tisbury School, was promoted to principal in 2011 after serving as the school’s assistant principal since 2008 and as a faculty member since 2004.